When it comes to dog food, most people go for the obvious, The expensive front shell big bag their money can afford! Let me tell you why is that wrong. In this post, I’m gonna help you take that leap of faith and embrace the” Natural Diet for Dogs“.
Ask yourself this question, do those big companies with their impossible pronounce list of ingredients actually take your dogs’ well-being into account. When stuffing their artificial coloring and preservatives into a plastic bag for you to buy, dog food companies see you as dollars that’s all!
Of course, not all of them do, but most of them do, and you buy that dog food bag thinking you are doing your dog a favor. Well, you are actually hurting your dog and exposing him to a long-run cancer threat.
Am not gonna try to convince you to switch to a raw dog diet, we left that to another post. Am here today to help you switch to probably the best Natural Diet for Dogs available out there, and provide you with some raw dog food recipes.
In order to be considered as a Healthy Balanced Natural Diet for Dogs, a diet must meet certain criteria, which you will discover in details in this post, but let me tell you, it will be the best change you can ever make for your dog.
A bit of Science and a Lot of Common Sense
If you ask any dog owner who has been feeding his dog raw for more than a couple of months if they would ever go back to kibble, he will definitely say NO!
This means that the health benefits are so noticeable and you’ll honestly feel so good about knowing what goes into your dog’s body that you’ll forget about going back to Kibble. After all, millions of years of evolution can’t be wrong!
It sure is not easy to make the switch, believe me, I understand as I, my self went through that same exact moment, but I can only tell you try, it will be worth your while.
Just make sure you read all of the instructions mentioned in this post right to the end because while they’re easy to follow, each one of the following steps is important and will make sure your dog’s raw diet is a Healthy Balanced Natural Diet for Dogs.
What are the Components of a Natural Diet for Dogs?
Dogs have varying nutritional needs during different stages of their lives, and feeding a diet that is formulated for all life stages is not necessarily appropriate. “all-purpose” dog food may not provide enough nutrients to meet the needs of a growing puppy or a pregnant or nursing mother. However, the six basic nutrients for all dogs of different ages and breeds are water, proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins.
These essential nutrients are required as part of the dog’s regular diet and are involved in all of the basic functions of the body. Water is a non-negotiable element, all dogs should drink enough clean water, not toilet water, the rest of the components are going to be discussed in detail throughout this post, so keep reading.
The 10 Essential Components of any Raw Natural Diet for Dogs
In order for you to successfully switch to Raw, your diet must contain certain nutritional elements, any healthy raw dog food recipes must provide most of these nutrients. Moreover, You have to stick to a scientifically calculated amount, but, worry not our dear reader we got you covered, just follow this guide and we promise your dog will thank you (in one way or another).
1. Your Raw Dog Diet Must Contain Minerals
Any Natural Diet for Dogs must contain minerals, especially Calcium, magnesium, and Phosphorus. The following minerals are a must in any diet, according to bodybio.com, here is why:
Calcium’s best-known work is in the formation of bone and teeth, but it also plays a role in keeping the heart and muscles working the right way by governing contractions.This means that while calcium is a major key for strong bones and teeth, it also keeps your dogs’ heart strong and functions properly.
It is also a constituent of bone, but serves, too, as the principal player in more than three hundred enzyme reactions, while controlling potassium and calcium uptake, assisting nerve electrical activity, and managing the metabolism of carbohydrates.Yes, that is correct.
Magnesium is the mineral that controls the consumption of calcium, responsible for the well being of your dogs’ nervous system, and weight control as it is responsible for more than 300 enzyme reactions, and the metabolism of carbohydrates. i.e. how carbohydrates are used to generate energy.
In the body, phosphorus is second in abundance only to calcium and is necessary for bone growth, kidney function, cellular health and acid-alkaline balance.
Dogs, and especially puppies, need a lot of minerals to have healthy growth. In addition to the bones, a diet that lacks minerals (by minerals we exclusively mean calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus), will cause severe bone problems for puppies, and complex nervous system issues for mature dogs.
Where to get these minerals from?
There are plenty of synthetic Minerals products or Food Supplements that provide the previous minerals as pills or past or even dog treats, but since we are making a Natural Diet for Dogs, we will use a more natural raw element for minerals.
This element will not only provide your dog diet with a sufficient amount of minerals but will also add a more natural vibe for the whole process and even help to strengthen your dogs’ teeth by scraping any food scrubs left in between the teeth.
Bones, that’s right. Bones are the best natural source of minerals, especially calcium and phosphorus. You should include bones in every diet you put your dogs through. It’s not just a Hollywood thing that dogs love bones, they love bones because they are juicy and nutrient.
Bones provide a healthy source for the prementioned minerals and help to strengthen your dogs’ teeth and clean them, that is why dogs love to chew bones, and they even tend to bury them so they can decompose even better underground, they are like an infinite candy bar for dogs.
To simplify things, a normal raw diet should contain from 10 to 20% bones, that is 1/5th the whole diet. There are multiple choices of bones to pick from which we will mention later, and I know most of you are worried about choking hazards, especially those of you who have small breeds.
Well, worry not, you can always break the bones into small pieces or leave them bigger than what your dog can swallow, that way he will have to chew them until they break into tiny swallowable pieces and will make no threat for him.
According to dogintonpost.com, the bones to feed are Raw bones.
Almost any raw bone is safe for dogs. Believe it or not, raw chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, or even oxtail bones can be fed in their natural raw form. Plus, besides being tasty, raw bones are excellent for maintaining dental health. Aside from that, a whole fish, including its head, can also be given to your pooch. These raw dog bones have been identified as soft bones; making it easy and safe to chew and eat. -dogintonpost.com
There are many types of bones that you can feed your dog from which we mention:
- Lamb or goat necks or ribs
- Turkey necks (other turkey bones are large)
- Beef tail bones (great for larger dogs)
- Chicken wings, necks, legs, or thighs
However, Bones to Avoid are Cooked fish and poultry bones.
Any bone that breaks into sharp shards is dangerous for your dog. This kind of cooked bone generally presents not only a choking hazard to dogs but a splintering risk as well. Never feed cooked fish, chicken, or beef bones as they can easily splinter, damaging his gums, teeth, and throat; causing pain and even potential injury. If your dog swallows the shards from these cooked bones, he also runs the risk of internal injury. -dogintonpost.com
2. Organs are the First Source of Vitamins in the Natural Raw Diet
That’s right, Organs are the animals’ richest part in nutrients, especially vitamins( A, E, D, B1-Thiamin-). Adding enough Organs to your dogs’ raw diet means that your dogs’ diet has all the vitamins he needs, while they are not a lot of vitamins, still, they are compulsory for the growth and health of your dog.
For a balanced raw diet, you will need to feed somewhere between 15 to 30% of organs. That’s a little bit more than 1/4 of the whole diet. However, do not make the mistake of feeding only one organ in high quantity, for instance, the liver. The liver is very high in vitamin A and it can cause a severe Dhiarria for your dog, and trust me, you don’t want that.
There are plenty of organs to choose from, all are rich in vitamins, and from which we can mention the following:
- Liver; It is a great source of high-quality protein and is one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin A. You should Opt for beef, veal, goat, lamb, bison, buffalo, chicken, geese or duck liver, preferably from a young animal.
- Heart; It has a higher amount of protein, thiamine, phosphorus, zinc, and several B vitamins. There are many sources for hearts like Beef, lamb, and chicken.
- Brain; A great source of DHA, vitamin B12, and cholesterol. It’s found in Beef, lamb, pork, pig, rabbit.
- Kidney; a good way to get lots of protein without lots of fat, opt for kidneys, which contain a lot of B12, riboflavin, and iron, as well as B6.
Always remember, variety is better than quantity!
3. Muscle Meat is the Basic Component of any Raw Dog Food Recipe
Any raw dog food recipes have a basic component, our diet is no different. Meat is the dominant component in our raw diet, it provides your dog with just enough protein to build strong healthy muscles.
Dogs need a lot of protein and enzymes to thrive. Moreover, the healthiest calories come from protein, and there is no better way to get that than line meat.
In addition to bones and juicy organs, 1/2 to 1/3 of the Raw Diet must be Line meat. It depends on how many organs you put on the Diet.
Why muscle meat? Muscle meat is the best in terms of quality. It has high levels of protein, low levels of fat, and almost no cholesterol.
There are lots of meats out there; However, not all of them are good for your dogs. According to dogsnaturallymagazine.com, here are the types of muscle meat you want to feed to your dog:
- Beef (ground beef, cheek meat, stewing beef)
- Beef heart (but not more than 5% of the diet as it’s very rich)
- Bison (ground bison, stewing bison meat)
- Turkey (ground turkey, boneless thighs, breast meat, tenderloin)
- Lamb (stewing lamb, ground lamb, shoulder or breast meat)
- Pork (pork shoulder or butt, cushion meat, boneless rib meat, loin)
- Chicken (boneless thighs, breast meat)
4. Keep an Eye on the Fats Levels on your Raw Dog Diet
Fats are actually necessary for your dogs’ health, they help with the nervous system, immune functions, and are critical for skin health and your dogs’ fur coat.
According to petnet.io, fat is an important macronutrient for both dogs and cats. Dietary fat provides a myriad of benefits including:
- Fat is a dense source of energy (calories) that is necessary to keep your pet active.
- Fat provides essential nutrients such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are vital to keeping your pet’s skin and coat healthy. Restricting fat or providing low-quality fat sources can often lead to a coarse, dull coat and dry, itchy skin, among other things.
- Fat is important for reproductive efficiency, kidney function, and the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K.
- Fat helps with overall immune regulation, which helps your pet fight off disease and infections.
- Fat serves as a metabolic source of water, reducing the likelihood of dehydration. Perhaps this is a reason to slightly increase the fat content in your dog’s diet during the summer months?
- Fat is highly palatable.
Despite all of the benefits of fat, you should not go overboard when planning your dogs’ raw diet. Like anything else, moderation and quality are key.
Fats are good; however, they have a downside, for instance, being overweight, having heart problems, and many other health issues, so keep an eye on fats while preparing your dogs’ diet.
Here are some examples of Low and High-fat Meats:
High Fat Meat:
- chicken necks with skin
- chicken or turkey dark meat with skin
- ground beef (85%lean or less )
- pork belly
- domestic duck
Low Fat Meat:
- chicken necks with no skin
- chicken or turkey light meat with no skin
- lean ground beef
- pork loin
- most fish
- most wild game (except duck)
These can add up a few or a lot of fat to the fats you put in the diet, so if you were feeding high-fat meat add only a little bit of fat to the diet, as the first already contains fats.
If moderation and quality were key, how much fat should my dog eat and what are the best types of fat for dogs?
To answer that question, you should understand what is meant by fats first.
All fats are made of fatty acids. Fatty acids can be thought of as the building blocks of the different types of fats, however, each type has specific characterizations and roles to play in the body. They are divided into three categories saturated, unsaturated, or polyunsaturated.
Here is a comparison between good and bad fats:
Make sure that you add only healthy fats to your dogs’ diet.
according to petmd.com, Animal fat and vegetable oil are often used as sources of fat in the diet of dogs and cats. Linoleic acid is found in the fat of poultry, beef and pork but the best sources are corn, soybean and safflower oil. Arachidonic acid is found in animal fat and fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oil, krill oil, and flaxseed.
Low-quality meat also contains lots of fats, however, they are not good for your dog and with time you will start to notice some health issues. that’s why we recommend line muscle meat and high-quality fats for a healthy natural diet for dogs.
That was about quality. When it comes to quantity, we said that moderation is key, so how much fats should be included in any natural diet for dogs?
The overall amount of fats should not be much more than 10 to 12%, and that includes only good fats as any amount of bad fats is harmful, even if it was only 5%, so you should definitely stay away from those.
Common sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fish oils, including salmon and herring as well as flaxseed and canola oils. Commonly used omega-6 fatty acid sources include pork fat, chicken fat (or any poultry fat), safflower and sunflower oils, as well as corn and soybean oils (vegetable oils). Watch out for lower-quality ingredients such as tallow or lard.
Until now your Raw Dogs Diet is sufficient and your dogs will do just fine. Your dogs’ raw diet contains enough protein and fat which will provide all the energy your dogs need to stay active and enough protein to build strong muscles.
The bones will provide all the essential minerals and the organs will add all the primary vitamins your dogs need to thrive and grow healthy. However, your natural dog diet still missing a few complementary elements. they are not essential but still, they can help your dog even better.
5. Fruits & Vegetables can Help your Dog Stay Healthy
One of the biggest mistakes that a lot of dog owners fall into, is that they think that since dogs are carnivores they cannot digest vegetables or fruits! Which is totally wrong by the way. thanks to mother nature and millions of years of evolution, dogs developed the ability to digest- not all but some veggies and fruits.
But you may still wonder, why confuse my dog with veggies and fruits while he can eat line meat? Because fruits and veggies can help your dogs’ in many ways, for instance:
- Whitening your dogs’ teeth.
- Help the Beneficial Bacteria that lives inside your dogs’ Digestive System.
- Strengthen your dogs’ cells, detoxify his liver and digestive system.
- Slow down aging and help in fighting chronicled diseases
- Fight free Radicals i.e. fight cancer in all its types.
- Protect your dogs’ eyes, skin, and heart.
- Regulate cell signaling and have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.
There are lots of other health benefits of feeding your dogs fruits & veggies but It really depends on the fruit or the vegetable itself. Different fruits have different benefits and so on…
6. Stay Away from Starchy Foods
Starchy foods are another no-no when it comes to any natural diet for dogs, or cats if that matters, that’s because starchy foods have a bad influence over your dogs’ health. when we say “starchy food” we include all foods that turn into carbohydrates after digestion :
The thing with starchy foods is that they provide lots of energy that your dog doesn’t need. Your dog’s primary energy source is meat protein and fats. Carbohydrates are not good for dogs, they raise the production of insulin in your dog’s body which leads to storing lots of fat in your dogs’ body, and that only leads to a chubby fat dog.
the continuous production of insulin will lead your dog to a pancreas failure, and thus a chronicle use of injections to maintain sugar levels in his blood.
Eating starchy food will eventually lead your dog to have diabetes.
Almost all industrial dog food contains starch, and here comes the advantage of a raw dog diet. As we mentioned before, the advantage of a natural dog diet is not that it is raw, the advantage lies in you being able to cut off what you don’t like your dog eating. Since they have no benefit other than adding calories your dog doesn’t need, starch can only harm your dog, so make sure to omit that from the list of your dog’s diet components!
7. Variety is key to Avoiding Food Boredom
No one likes to eat the same food every day, not even dogs!
One of the biggest mistakes Raw Feeders commit is that they feed the same diet every day. Eventually, their dogs get bored and stop eating their Raw Food. That’s why some people blame it on the Raw Diet and those are the ones that say that they tried feeding raw before but it didn’t go well.
Food Boredom is one of the biggest obstacles that will encounter you while switching to the Raw Dog Diet but worry not the dear reader we have got just the perfect solution for you. Variety is what you need, you should try various raw dog food recipes which we will provide you with later on.
Try different bases when putting together a raw diet. For instance, Try lamb meat with salmon, chicken, and eggs for a couple of days then switch to beef, tuna, and duck eggs. Both lamb and beef have different tastes, the same goes with chicken and duck eggs, you as a human can’t tell the difference but dogs’ taste is stronger and they can definitely taste the change.
Another solution is to add up some herbs and spices like Cinnamon or garlic which can change the taste of the whole diet according to what combination you put in there. For a detailed list of herbs and spices good for dogs, check out the Top 10 Spices And Herbs That Are Safe For Dogs.
One more thing you can add to your dog’s diet is sticky parts like chicken feet, beef trachea, tails, lung, testicles …etc These can provide tons of health benefits and nutrients such as natural chondroitin and glucosamine, which help to build healthy joints
– Glucosamine and Chicken Feet
One chicken foot weighs about 30 grams. Each foot is about 30% cartilage. Cartilage is about 5% glucosamine; Thus: 30 grams x 30% x 5% = 0.45, or 450mg per chicken foot.
According to delishably.com Research by the Department of Animal Science of National Chung-Hsing University in Taiwan showed that chicken feet contained a lot of collagen, which helps in:
- Healthier and younger-looking skin
- Rich in calcium and protein, without the carbohydrates
- Improves blood supply by strengthening the blood vessels
- Assist the body in metabolizing fats, therefore good for weight loss
- Slows the effect of arthritis
- Reduce pain and swelling (inflammation)
Feeding Stuff like chicken feet proves very useful not only to avoid food boredom but also to add some helpful supplements such as collagen, that’s why I strongly advise you to feed chicken feet, beef trachea, lungs… at least once a week.
8. Advantages of Self made Raw Diet
One of the great advantages your dog can get when you start feeding him Raw is that you know exactly what goes into your dog’s body. There is no room for error or ignorance when it comes to our fellow canine, and to be honest, I feel more comfortable knowing that goes into my dog’s system.
Another thing, most kibbles lack moisture, even with wet dog foods, it is still not enough! unlike Raw dog food which is rich in moisture, and fats that are rich in water. add the fruits and vegetables and your dog will have sufficient water to stay young and healthy. Water is so important for your dogs’ health; It is responsible for a smooth metabolism, skin and fur health( if you want your dog to have a shiny coat, give him enough water), helps with the regeneration of cells which proves handy in cases of wounds ( if your dog gets into lots of scratches and fights with neighbors’ dogs
Some consider the Raw diet unbalanced and insufficient for dogs, however, this is not true. While industrial dog food contains all the necessary Nutritional supplements, all or most of them are industrial synthetic supplements that differ actually from the natural ones out there, and sometimes can be harmful to your dog.
Unlike industrial synthetics, Raw Dog Diet contains most of the required nutritional supplements, it actually depends on your budget and how much you can spend on organs and meat. All the supplements provided in your Raw Dog Diet are healthy and beneficial in more ways than Industrial Dog Food can ever be.
When you compare the prices of a good balanced industrial dog food with how much it costs to prepare your dog’s raw diet, you will find out how cheaper it is to feed your dog raw. The secret is to buy in bulk. When you buy your supplies, always buy in bulk because that will save you lots of money especially when you are purchasing organs or sticky parts, and try to contact some slaughterhouses or animal farms where you can get some good deals.
Here are the prices of Goat Meat For Sale in Salmon Creek Ranch.com
9. Mistakes Most Beginner Raw Feeders Do
Most dog owners had at least thought about going raw at some point, and lots of them actually tried putting their dogs through a raw diet for some time, but because they lack enough knowledge they get scared quickly and decide to drop the diet and switch back to kibble again.
One of the biggest mistakes Raw dog feeders is that they think raw means meat. Raw dog Diet must contain a variety of meat, healthy fats, juicy organs, fruits, vegetables, with lots of water.
It’s okay, if you tried Raw before and things didn’t work out for you quite well, you can always try again. You must know that it’s not just you. Most raw dog feeders had had problems when first switched to Raw, multiple problems actually not just one or two.
Whether it was how to prepare the meals, what to include in the meals, or just that your dog didn’t quite adjust to the raw food, it’s all quite normal. With time you will learn what’s working out for your dog, as long as you stick to the guidelines and don’t overdo any step or ignore another, your dog will be just fine.
In terms of content, it all depends on your budget and what type of meat you can purchase, what organs you can get your hands on. Sometimes it’s not a problem of money, it’s a problem of availability. In that case, you can always check the internet or email us and we will guide you toward the best stores and online markets that sell organs, especially for dogs.
If it was a problem of how much you should feed your dog, the amount differs from kibble, and it involves different variables such as age, weight, activity level, and even breed, season, weather ..etc Cold weather needs more energy-based diet, that means more meat and fats. While hot weather needs a more watery-based diet because your dog will be less active probably because of the heat.
you can follow some simple math formulas to calculate how much food you should feed your dog, here is a simple method. This is a calculator provided by dogfoodadvisor.com, you can use it to calculate how much food you should feed your dog.
Most dogs will have some difficulty when switching to a raw dog diet because of allergies, so keep an eye on that as well. Eggs, Spices, difficulty digesting certain types of foods because of the lack of some enzymes. Some Organs contain high levels of vitamins, for example, the Liver is very high in vitamin A which can cause severe diarrhea for some dogs.
Another very common mistake most raw dog feeders do is feed offal too quickly too much variety too fast.
Like any food and just like humans, switching diets needs time, and varying the diets too often will confuse your dog’s system even more!
Try to start soft, just the basics; Line meat, fats, some organs, and soft raw bones. Probably, your dog will be fine with the meat, fats, and bones, but will probably have a problem with the organs, because its kind of weird in terms of taste and texture at first, it’s ok, let him take his time and process everything at a time, you don’t need a perfectly balanced meal every time, what is important is that by the end of the week your dog will be having enough protein, minerals, and vitamins to grow and stay active. Over time, your dog will get a hold of the diet and then you can start introducing variety so he won’t get bored of his food.
Some dog owners complain that preparing raw meals needs much more resources and is definitely time-consuming. If you want a healthy long living canine, you must spend a little on it! As for the time issue, we have got just the solution for that. Prepare your meals each weekend, all you need is some containers that you can find on amazon.com, and then prepare your meals and store them for later that week.
Here are some examples of raw dog food recipes, this one is prepared by Noelle Pratte. A member of the Raw & Holistic Cat & Dog Support Group on Facebook, I advise you to join the group for info and support! Also, join the Rollpet group on Facebook you will find a lot of information there, for now, here is a Raw dog Diet prescription:
The meal varies with proteins but this is pretty typical & mostly averages close to $1/lb:
- Beef grind
- Venison & wild game
- Turkey neck
- Raw egg (in some)
- Sheep liver
- Honest Kitchen Kindly veggie base (in half)
- Turmeric golden paste
- Daily Supplements: Dasequin, Green Lipped Muscle, Fish Oil (joint health & support for our big guys), Cornsilk (urinary/kidney health/dribbling)
“I weigh all meals (& adjust to seasons & activity level) and have to because of their sedentary nature and propensity to gain weight easily (feed less than 2% of his body weight). I rarely if ever calculate percentages of meat, organ & bone (raw feeder x 10 yrs)”- Noelle Pratte
This is merely an example, you can start off with this and by time customize it according to your dogs’ needs as this meal is particularly for Mastiffs, your dog’s breed, age, and activity level can change how this meal works for you.
That was most of what you need to know to start feeding your dog raw, believe me, the best thing you can do for your dog is to put him on a Natural diet for dogs, after all, that’s what mother nature would‘ve wanted you to do.
If you have any questions or need any more information about raw feeding or raw dog food recipes, leave a comment here or on our Facebook page/ group on facebook.com/rollpetd, and make sure to join the Raw & Holistic Cat & Dog Support Group on Facebook, they are really great and will help you with any concern you may have!
We really wish to see you switching to raw instead of kibble, your dog deserves a better life, and we are all here to support you, just ask and we will help you with all your needs!
Resources, Credit, and Further Reading: